The Effect of E-Commerce in Athens

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by Riley Harshman

Bon-Ton announced earlier this month that they would be liquidating their company and closing all 267 stores nationwide. Stores included in Bon-Ton’s franchise are: Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Elder Beerman, Herberger’s, and Younkers. The Elder Beerman located in The Market on State is leaving a 42,000 square foot hole in the community. With the rise of internet commerce, how do local businesses in Athens stay afloat, with big chains like Elder Beerman on their way out?

According to the US Census Bureau, 2017 saw a 16% increase in e-commerce. E-commerce is on the rise with internet stores like Amazon. Conversely, traditional shopping is on a decline. This makes it important for local businesses to establish themselves on the internet, through social media, and even their own websites.

Restaurants and stores operate as a revolving door in Athens, constantly coming and going. Owner of 10 West Clothing, and Uptown Dog, Mary Cheadle, says it’s important to appeal to the students of Ohio University by offering OU merchandise and fest-wear. Cheadle has owned stores in Athens since the 1980’s and uses social media today to keep with the changing times. Cheadle is  working towards a more e-commerce friendly layout this summer.

The closing of the Elder Beerman leaves a void in the Athens community. Local businesses are going to do what they can to fill that void, while also keeping their own doors open.